Beginners Portal

Everyone Has to Start Somewhere.

Start your journey here. We have created a beginner’s portal with you in mind. We took our insider knowledge about learning to ski and ride and broke it down into four easy steps: Prepare, Travel, Arrival, and On-Mountain, plus we’ve included some Pro-Tips too.

We’re so excited to welcome you to the sport and we can’t wait to ski or ride with you at Sugar Bowl. It's a special place!


A skier or rider making a sweet slash turn at Sugar Bowl

Step 1: Prepare

Preparing for your first day on the slopes

What to Wear

Outfit yourself for success! Let’s dial in your clothing for a first great day on the slopes. Start with the basics: a wind & water resistant jacket and pants. Next, make a plan for your layers underneath. Non-cotton, sweat-wicking pieces of clothing will help keep you dry and comfortable. Your socks should follow the same rules as your layers— no cotton! Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to double up socks, it doesn’t help.

Read an article about "What to Wear"

Weather in the Mountains

These handy links will help you make decisions based on the weather and conditions at Sugar Bowl. Bookmark these pages so you know what to expect when traveling to the resort.

Save Time & Money: Book in Advance:

A little advanced planning goes a long way!

Need a Lift Ticket?

To save money you can book your lift tickets online in advance and save up to 40% off.

First Timer Ski or Snowboard Package

We’ve got your rentals, a lesson, and a lift ticket all in one simple package, are you ready to meet your instructor?

Is the Whole Family Learning to Ski?

Choose a private lesson or, we have options for kid-specific and adult-specific lessons.


A skier or rider making a sweet slash turn at Sugar Bowl

Step 2: Travel

Prep your Vehicle

Chances are you’re driving to Sugar Bowl. Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready by carrying snow chains. Chains are specific to your tire size, so not just any set will work. Check out this instructional video and be sure to practice if you haven’t used them before. The gold standard of mountain travel is a 4-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle with snow tires; you may want to consider renting a more snow-ready vehicle if you don’t have access to one.

Hours of Operation

Sugar Bowl is open daily during the winter season from 9am-4pm. As conditions allow, our season typically runs from late-November to mid-April. On very snowy days, sometimes we experience delays opening the mountain. The best place to be informed about real time updates is by following our Operations Twitter.

A skier or rider making a sweet slash turn at Sugar Bowl

Step 3: Arrival

Picking Up Tickets?

If you purchased lift tickets in advance you can save time and money. Once purchased, check your email and locate the QR code in your receipt. You can use the handy ticket printing kiosks to scan and print your ticket. There are kiosks located at Judah Lodge, The Village Gondola, and The Village Lodge. If you plan to purchase additional tickets, save your pass, it’s reloadable so you can go direct to the lift on your next visit. If you need assistance, let a Sugar Bowl employee know and we’ll direct you to the nearest ticket office.

Where Do I go for Lessons?

If you have pre-purchased rental equipment or you are booked for a lesson– fantastic– plan to park at Mt Judah Lodge and be sure to give yourself an extra 30-minute cushion of time. Especially on weekends, parking and getting geared up can take additional time. For lessons you’ll head to the big white tent to sign in and be paired with your instructor. Remember, There is limited first-come-first-serve parking for ski & board school participants near the big white tent. To access, use the upper parking lot at Judah, it will be on your left as you drive into the Judah Lot.

On a busy weekend morning, avoid the rush and aim to pick up rental equipment before 10am or after 12pm. For a more relaxed experience, consider skiing on a midweek day or starting in the afternoon.

Want Real Time Resort Updates?

Here's a collection for our favorite tips, tricks, and handy links to help you stay connected with what’s happening at Sugar Bowl Resort. If knowing information before everyone else is your thing, you’ve come to the right place! Bookmark-follow-download these tools for quick access to this crucial information. Stay in the loop and have your best possible day on the slopes.

Staying at The Hotel?

Park at the Village Gondola in the covered underground parking area and we’ll help you load your luggage on a personal gondola. You’ll be whisked away to America's only snowbound village where you can check in at the front desk. The Village Lodge will be your base camp to explore Sugar Bowl. Judah Lodge (with rentals and lessons) is a short walk away.


A skier or rider making a sweet slash turn at Sugar Bowl

Step 4: On-Mountain

Study the Trail Map

When you’re just getting started, look for the zones with the most green circles, like White Pine based out of the Judah Lodge. Both base areas have access to beginner terrain. Get an idea of which chairlifts you want to ride that day to access the terrain you want to ski or ride.

If you take a few minutes to get your bearings before your first day, you’ll feel much more confident when you arrive. Here’s a link to our trail map.  If you have questions while at the mountain, just ask someone in a blue Sugar Bowl uniform. We're happy to help!

Riding the Chair

Ask the operator to slow down the lift for you: After the party in front of you has loaded the lift, move forward to the "Wait Here" line. Turn and watch the lift approach. As the chair arrives, hover and sit on the chair, taking care to keep your skis or board parallel to the forward motion of the lift.

At the Top: Be sure to clear the unloading area swiftly. If someone falls while unloading, don’t panic, our lift operators will stop or slow the lift to give you extra time to clear the area.

Skier Responsibility Code

Learn the Rules of the Road:
The Skier Responsibility Code is a crash course in ski area etiquette. Most of these rules are common sense, but it’s a good idea to get a basic idea of the do’s and don’ts before you hit the slopes. For starters, always stay in control, be able to stop, and remember that people ahead of you have the right of way.

Take a Break: Lodges & Dining

If it’s your first day, it’s safe to say that you’ll be learning a lot of new skills (and testing out a couple new muscles too!) Taking a lunch break at one of our on-mountain dining locations is an opportunity to rest, relax, hydrate, and enjoy the view of the surrounding Sierra. You’ll be ready for more time on the slopes after a little down-time.

Don't forget to purchase your lift ticket and lessons online in advance!


A skier or rider making a sweet slash turn at Sugar Bowl

Mountain Tips


Many of our guests travel to Sugar Bowl from sea level and will hop on the lifts that lead straight to our highest peak at 8,383’. While this altitude change is typically manageable, you may notice a mild headache and some extra huffing and puffing going up the stairs. Stay hydrated, take it slow, and be sure to stop for breaks.


Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen. An average 300 days a year of California blue skies means you’ll want to protect your skin. Did you know the sun bounces off the snow and reflects back towards you? Under the nose sunscreen is a must!

Pocket essentials: we like to have a travel size sunscreen, lip balm, microfiber goggle cloth, and tissues. Forgot something? We can help at one of our on-mountain retail stores